FY2013 Annual Report

This annual report of CRPCA’s activities, membership, and finances covers the period from October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013.

Grants Awarded

We distributed grants totaling $5,800 through our Grant Program, to benefit projects led by people in or from the Pacific Northwest.

  • $2,384 was awarded to Northwest Fair Trade Coalition to support video documentation of benefits of fair trade in Dehradun, India.
  • $1,500 was awarded to Fultang Bilingual High School to support construction of a clean water catchment and tank serving Nkongsamba, Cameroon.
  • $958 was awarded to Makindu Children’s Center to support construction of a borehole well to decrease water costs in Makindu, Kenya.
  • $958 was awarded to Zimbabwe Artists Project to support establishment of a Weya artists stand at Avondale Plaza in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Service Activities

For our thirteen service activities, we continued our service relationships with three community organizations, while our newest service partnership became our most frequent.

  • At our six service shifts at St André Bessette’s Evening Hospitality (January, April, and monthly June through September), we served hearty meals to people surviving poverty and homelessness in downtown Portland.
  • At our four service shifts at the Oregon Food Bank (November, December, February, and May), we sorted, bagged, and boxed food to promote food security in Oregon and southwest Washington.
  • At our two service days with Habitat for Humanity (October and April), we caulked, framed, and painted affordable homes for families in our community.
  • At our single service shift with the Portland Fruit Tree Project (October), we picked apples at Columbia Children’s Arboretum for distribution to food-insecure families in Portland.
  • On short notice (between e-updates), we assembled a healthy number of volunteers (between our board members and Facebook friends) in September to help the Village Bicycle Project disassemble and load bicycles for shipment to Sierra Leone.

Community Engagement

We continually strive to promote the Peace Corps’ third goal of bringing the world back home.

  • In February we sponsored the Cascade Festival of African Films screening of Benda Bilili, a documentary chronicling the challenges and musical exploits of disabled street musicians in Kinshasa.
  • In June we carried the flags of 75 Peace Corps countries in the Portland Rose Festival’s Grand Floral Parade. This was our third consecutive invitation to march in Portland’s premier annual parade.
  • Our Writers’ Workshop occurred eleven times, every month but December. The highlight came in October, when Oregon’s Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen sparked tremendous creativity among our members.

Fundraising Activities

100% of the funds we raise through our fundraising activities each fiscal year are available for grant awards in the next fiscal year.

  • In the fall and winter we sold 2013 International Calendars.
  • In December our Annual Fundraiser was held at a new-to-us venue in close-in NE Portland, with musical entertainment from Supadupa Marimba Brothers.
  • In May we steered our members and friends to Migration Brewing, which donated 10% of their profits from an evening to our grant fund.
  • Our Parade T-shirts from FY2012 moved into the black this year.

Post-Potluck Programs

We hosted engaging presentations at five of our Potluck Gatherings.

  • October: SEED students : Mt Hood Community College environmental technology students from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua performed traditional music and dances from their countries.
  • November: Encore Service Corps International: Larry Badger (RPCV Azerbaijan) talked about his three-month Encore stint with the International Fertilizer Development Center of Nairobi, Kenya in 2011.
  • January: Social Equity and Sustainability in Cuba – An Update on a Country in Transition: Jubilee Oregon’s Bob Brown (RPCV Nepal) and Portland State University’s Veronica Dujon and Pat Rumer shared observations from their December 2012 tours of Cuba.
  • March: African Diaspora Dialogue Project: Portland State University’s Barbara Tint spoke of her innovative collaboration with Africa House to resolve conflicts between refugees in Portland.
  • May: Writing and Publishing Hints from Member Authors: We learned about the writing life from Phil Margolin (RPCV Liberia) and about how to get published from Ellen Urbani (RPCV Guatemala).

Book Discussions

Our Book Club discussed eleven books. This year, for the first time, over half of our selected works were published in this decade, and over half were written by RPCVs. Four authors participated in our discussions, thanks in part to the wonders of Skype.

  • October: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick (2010).
  • November: Mango Elephants in the Sun: How Life in an African Village Let Me Be in My Skin by Cameroon RPCV Susana Herrera (1999).
  • December: Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World by Seth Stevenson (2010). The author participated in our discussion via Skype.
  • January: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (2010).
  • February: The Village of Waiting by Togo RPCV George Packer (1988).
  • March: The Civilized World: A Novel in Stories by Central African Republic RPCV Susi Wyss (2011). The author participated in our discussion via Skype.
  • April: The Lower River by Malawi RPCV Paul Theroux (2012).
  • May: História, História: Two Years in the Cape Verde Islands by Cape Verde RPCV Eleanor Stanford (2013). The author participated in our discussion via Skype.
  • June: So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ (1981).
  • July: We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali by Niger RPCV Peter Chilson (2013). The author, a CRPCA member, hosted our discussion.
  • September: Swimming in the Volcano by St Vincent & the Grenadines RPCV Bob Shacochis (1993).

Member Support

Our networking services consist of our Job Search Support Group and our participation in the national RPCV Mentoring Program.

  • Our Job Search Support Group gathered nine times, every month but December and mid-summer. Among the participants were RPCVs who served in Armenia, Ghana, Liberia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Senegal, South Africa, and Zambia.
  • We made nine mentee-mentor matches through the RPCV Mentoring Program:
  1. A recently arrived Armenia/Mongolia RPCV was matched with a seasoned Armenia RPCV.
  2. A recently arrived Azerbaijan RPCV was matched with a seasoned Niger RPCV.
  3. A recently arrived Panama RPCV was matched with a seasoned Honduras RPCV.
  4. A recently arrived Philippines RPCV was matched with a seasoned Micronesia RPCV.
  5. A recently arrived Philippines RPCV was matched with a seasoned Ukraine RPCV.
  6. A recently arrived Senegal RPCV was matched with a seasoned Burkina Faso RPCV.
  7. A recently arrived Senegal RPCV was matched with a seasoned Niger RPCV.
  8. A recently arrived Senegal RPCV was matched with a seasoned Sierra Leone RPCV.
  9. A recently arrived Swaziland/Philippines RPCV was matched with a seasoned Belize RPCV.

Speaking Opportunities

Most of our speakers’ presentations were made at the request of our region’s Peace Corps recruiters, who often cannot be in two places at once.

  • Peace Corps recruiters requested our speaking assistance for events at Elsie Stuhr Center in Beaverton (November), the Friends and Families of PCVs gathering in Portland (December), the Northwest Agricultural Show in Portland (January), Washington State University in Vancouver (February), Concordia College in Portland (March), Pacific University in Forest Grove (March), the Peace Corps Send-Off Party in Portland (April), and Lewis & Clark College in Portland (September).
  • Community speaker requests were honored for a World AIDS Day event in Portland (December), a post-play panel at the Portland Playhouse (March), and a capstone class at Portland State University (April and May).

Outdoor Activities

We offered a diverse set of outdoor activities.

  • We traversed the dark length of Ape Cave near Mt St Helens in October.
  • We played on sleds, skis, and snowshoes at our 4th annual Winter Weekend in January.
  • We bicycled through the twin tunnels on the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail in April.
  • We built sand structures and danced gangnam style at our 5th annual Local Campout at Cape Lookout State Park in June.
  • We spent a wet day at Silverwood Theme Park and a dry day enjoying Sandpoint, Lake Pend Oreille, and the trails of Farragut State Park at the 23rd annual Northwest Regional Peace Corps Campout in the Idaho panhandle in August.
  • We got wet at a Tubing Adventure on the Clackamas River in August.
  • We learned about Portland’s water source at our 3rd group Bull Run Watershed Tour in September.

Social Activities

We offered many ways for Peace Corps folks/families/friends/partners in and around Portland to spend good times together.

  • We shared stories and drinks at eight Soirées and at four International Development Happy Hours. Our partner organizations in IDHHs are Jubilee Oregon, North West Fair Trade Coalition, Portland Area Global AIDS Coalition, and RESULTS Portland.
  • We shared international meals at two Restaurant Gatherings, at Nicholas Middle Eastern (October) and E’NJoni Café (February).
  • We attended four Group Sports Event Outings: Portland Trail Blazers (NBA) in December, Portland Timbers (MLS) in April and September, and Portland Thorns (NWSL) in July.
  • We played at two Game Nights, in December and January.
  • Gifts and laughs were exchanged at our 13th annual Post-Holiday White Elephant Party in January.
  • We organized a full afternoon of family activities around Family Film Day at the Cascade Festival of African Films in February.
  • We were invited to Salem for a Peace Corps 52nd Birthday Party in March.
  • We continued the fun at two Post-Event Pub Gatherings, in April and June.
  • We organized our first Salon Francophone in April, and we continued speaking French uniquement on evenings in May and September.
  • We offered group picnics in June, July, and August, beginning with our Parade Practice Picnic on the eve of our third consecutive appearance in the Grand Floral Parade.
  • We assembled our dinner together at a Hands-On Pizza Making Party in September.

Association Business

Association decisions are generally made our business meetings, in which all members are welcome to participate.

  • At our Business Meetings (held after potluck dinners), we awarded grants (October, February, and June), elected officers (April), and determined our budget and priorities for the next year (September).
  • The Finance Committee (most of the CRPCA board) met in September to discuss our FY2014 budget. The draft budget was amended and approved a week later at our annual planning meeting.
  • Our board members represented CRPCA at Northwest Peace Corps Group Leaders meetings in Boise in March and at the Northwest Peace Corps Campout (also in Idaho) in August.

Activity Level

Our diverse activities are so numerous that we remain one of America’s most active Peace Corps groups, even as our activity level dropped a hair from last year.

  • We offered 8.0 events per month, for a total of 96 group events.
  • Our most active months were April and September (11-12 events), and they were preceded by our least active months of March and August (5 events).

Member Surveys

Our six on-line surveys queried members about event timing/format and book selections.

  • Our Soccer Match Outings in 2013 survey (8 responses) in January asked for date choices for group outings to Portland Timbers matches.
  • Our Writers’ Workshop 2013 survey (7 responses) in February sought input on the timing and format of our Writers’ Workshops.
  • Our Portland Thorns Inaugural Season Soccer Match Outings survey (5 responses) in February asked for date choices for a group outing to a Portland Thorns match.
  • Our Book Selection for 2014 survey (18 responses) in March determined next year’s Book Club selections.
  • Our Winter Weekend survey (9 responses) in June sought input on the timing of our next stay at Mazama Lodge.
  • Our Bull Run Watershed Tour 2013 survey (10 responses) in June sought input on the timing of our next group tour of Portland’s Bull Run watershed.

Member Communications

This was our first year with an easy-to-navigate website and our last year in which we offered paper newsletters.

  • We sent 44 e-updates to our current members, generally weekly in the weeks without newsletters.
  • We published 12 newsletters to our members and on our website.
  • Our WordPress-format website went live at the beginning of 2013, along with our slightly revised logo (an improvement on Les Hopkins’ 1997 design implemented by James Cloutier).

Membership Information

As of October 1, 2013…

  • CRPCA has 220 member households.
  • 102 CRPCA members also belong to the National Peace Corps Association.
  • 14 CRPCA members are currently serving Peace Corps Volunteers.
  • 95 CRPCA members are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in their free first year of membership.
  • CRPCA’s members have served or are serving in 88 different countries. Among our members, 21 served in the Peace Corps twice, and 4 served in the Peace Corps three times.
  • The most frequent countries of service among our members are Philippines (12 members), Sierra Leone (11 members), Senegal and Ukraine (10 members each), Morocco and Thailand (9 members each), and Ghana and Peru (8 members each).

Here is the breakdown of our PCV/RPCV members by first year of service:

  • 1960s: 55 members
  • 1970s: 34 members
  • 1980s: 29 members
  • 1990s: 45 members
  • 2000s: 50 members
  • 2010s: 54 members

Financial Report

Income Expenses
Membership $2,695.00
White Elephant Event $404.00 $464.08
Local Campout $420.00 $312.17
Winter Weekend $805.60 $667.33
Regional Campout Activities $590.00 $556.49
Annual Fundraising Event $1,092.00 $511.30
Other member events (ballgames, tours, etc.) $2,290.00 $2,211.79
Events Subtotal $8,296.60 $4,723.16
Grants Disbursed
Calendar Sale $3,870.50 $1,770.27
T-shirt Sales $415.50 $4.84
Grand Floral Parade
Operating Expenses
Newsletter, stamps, PO box, etc. $296.84
Support of western regional rep on NPCA board $250.00
Fees (State of Oregon, NPCA) $270.00
Operating Expense Subtotal $816.84
Interest Earned $5.63
Individual/Corporate Donations $171.00
Total $12,759.23 $12,833.36